Stents

A stent is a small plastic or metal tube that helps keep the bile duct, pancreatic duct, or the duodenum open.  Stent insertion can relieve blockages in these areas and may be used instead of performing a bypass procedure.

Plastic biliary stents are used on a short term basis, while metal stents are intended for long-term use.  The surgeon will decide upon a metal or plastic stent based on several factors.

A duodenal stent may be placed, as an alternative to surgical gastric bypass, if the tumor blocks the duodenum.

It is possible, but not common, for an infection to develop around a stent if it does not provide proper drainage. Fever or a return of jaundice may indicate infection and require emergency treatment. Anyone who suspects infection due to blockage of a stent should contact his or her doctor or the emergency room immediately.

Example of a metal stent
Image courtesy of Jason Klapman, MD,
Moffitt Cancer Center

Example of a plastic stent
Image courtesy of Jason Klapman, MD,
Moffitt Cancer Center

 

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